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tv   [untitled]    July 5, 2013 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT

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sewage and plumbing and it caused the scenario that was described with having to move people out with repairs, is that all the city's liability? >> i am not an attorney and i'm not with the city claims office. i will say that it is the department's perspective that in most cases if tree roots are getting into sewer lines is because the sewer line is leaking or degraded. roots don't act like bow a constrictors. generally the city does not pay for sewer damage, however if there is damage documented by tree roots, the city does pay for claims in those instances. >> if someone trips, is it the
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property owners responsibility or the city's responsibility. >> when we have the responsibility for the tree, we have the responsibility for that damage as well and the liability. >> thank you. >> the shaping of that tree is kind of unusual for the species, isn't it? >> it's big and old, so i think the canopy is broader thaen often you see for the species. >> who handled the hearing? it's not the director, right? >> no, there is a hearing officer. a number of representatives that attend the hearing and make final recommendations and the director makes that decision base on their recommendations. did you want the name? >> no. >> thank you. >> is there any public comment
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on this item? seeing no public comment we can start with our rebuttal with the appellant. >> sir, you didn't identify yourself to the board, are you mr. sullivan? >> i'm gerald sullivan. i have no problem with the department of public works. in the past years, 1994, the flags were replaced. we asked the roots be terminated and they said they would not repair the roots. if i understood you correctly you were doing some cutting of the roots? sorry. as i understand they were going to terminate some of the roots. it seems to be a little late to be doing that when it should have been
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done in 1994 when we first asked this question. i have been in the construction business for 50 years. roots do a lot of damage to underground electrical, plumbing, whatever is under there. they move it. now, when move it, water is going to come out. that makes the roots gravitate towards it. but the amount of pressure that these roots put under a foundation and i have no direct technical numbers they give you, but they move things. they cause the damage. i have seen it and i'm afraid it's happening here. that's our major concern. and the overhanging of these branches. we have a tenant in the top floor who like in a night when it's windy is very
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apprehensive. he states he's very uncomfortable with these branches. over the years dwp has said they are going maintain these trees and they don't. their intentions are good. they have monetary problems. but i think the city has a responsibility to protect taxpayers property. that's our concern that our property as well as the public's safety, people walking on the street, pedestrians, traffic could all be impacted by this tree. it is out of balance. it is leaning towards our property. and eucalyptus trees are known to come out of the ground. i have seen it happen in other properties. i'm just hoping that some common sense prevails here to get these trees
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removed. plant a smaller tree there, plant something more suitable for the area. thank you. >> miss short? >> thank you, carla short department of public works. i will define that root trim shooting be done carefully and judiciously with acknowledging the species. generally we try to avoid it if we can entirely, but in a case like this if there is roots that are adjacent to the foundation of the house when we made this repair, we can sever the roots at that point. >> so, typically there is a discussion about replacement trees. so smaller trees that is being removed is it being
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replaced by the city with another tree? >> yes. >> has there ever been a discussion about a replacement tree to be some resolution around this particular one? in the past when you have presented and people have had different opinions about whether trees stay or go, is there a discussion about what a replacement tree should look like, has there been discussion about that? >> there has not. >> the other question i had about the canopy, it did look more balanced on the picture you showed us. has there been pruning done? >> there has not been any pruning. we'll remove the trees pending on this outcome of this hearing. >> at the time the tree fell, it looked pretty severe. do you
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know much about the circumstances how it happened, why it happened? >> i don't. it was a large limb that failed. there was some evidence that there may have been some decay in the limb, but i don't know, it was at night. i don't know beyond that, the circumstances. >> okay. >> miss short, your resources are extremely limited as you indicated. is there an option should somebody be on that list of trees to be removed on your list. can the property owners undertake it? without waiting to be in line? >> if they were granted -- yeah. if the tree were an approved for removal, yes, but they would still have to go through the public notification process which in this case we
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did approve the tree for removal and it was the public appeal that led us to the departmental hearing. >> there is nothing to prevent a private citizen to go ahead and pay for the removal. >> that's not the issue. >> it's an entirely different question? >> correct. >> okay. thank you. >> you say people who came to the hearing and wanted the tree maintained. do you remember? >> our findings say there were three, they must have been very vocal, but in my memory there were more. there was an additional letter of protest as well. >> i don't think any of the supporters of the tree submitted anything for this hearing. >> no, and we do -- well we don't notify, the board
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notifies the public of appeal before the board. so i wouldn't have record on who was notified for that. >> it's very typical when a tree is removed it's standard that organizations automatically send in an objection. >> i will note that in response to that, the people who attended the hearing were from the neighborhood. >> so commissioner fung and i were having a side discussion. sorry about that. the waiting list, the 5,000 are for sidewalk maintenance and removal? >> that's for sidewalk repairs, not for removal. >> that's why i was confused with your question. >> certainly the timing of the removal e depends on the
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condition of the tree. >> how many sites are on your list for removal? >> i don't have that. >> okay. thank you. >> commissioners, the matter is submitted. >> i think this is a perfect -- i'm sorry. >> let commissioner honda start. >> i love trees, in fact just drove to sequoia this weekend to see the general sherman tree. but this tree evidently has it's larger than the space and you can clearly see that in the photographs and even if you look at the other additional pictures which makes it look like an even canopy, it's not, there is two-thirds of the tree is definitely hanging on the
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side of the property address and the side that looks like that's failed, the limb that failed, failed on the opposite side. if they are going to prune the roots which is very difficult already, then you are making a tree that is not so healthy and maybe even more unstable. so, i would vote to have the tree removed. and they are going replace it with another tree. because the resources are limited already and after they repair the sidewalk, it's going to need repair again. that's been proven time and again. how many years have they gone without repairing that? i'm sure someone on a skateboard or someone on a walker is a huge
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liability for the city. >> i think this is an example, i won't use perfect, but it's an example for renewal. i think our urban force is for renewal. i will use it. >> i actually would like to ask miss short another question. sorry. in terms of cost benefit, when thinking about the resources of the city and your department in particular for purposes of repairing sidewalk versus removing something that is obviously damaged, the sidewalks will continue to in some form require some maintenance. how do you weigh those cost? if taking aside a minute the health of the tree, the imminent hazard, taking that aside. just dollars in cost?
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>> carla short, department of public works. generally we don't take away those other factors because larger trees provide more benefit to the city in terms of their environmental services. so when we are looking at, it's true we have limited resources and obviously, repairing a sidewalk more than once may seem as though it's not worth it with the cost, but if you look at that means maturization of a tree and then with community concerns which was the deciding fact or in this case. >> okay. good answer. >> all right. the commissioners who have already spoken. >> i just want to say for the record that this is very difficult. i don't live close
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enough to require a recusal but i am in that neighborhood and i do appreciate those trees. so that tree in particular, i don't have any particular relationship to it. but the way it an appears on that block and it does create the types of benefits that miss short just described that is hard to put a price tag on. in looking at the challenges that are faced by the property owner, the appellant here, i think there is value added to having such a beautiful tree next to your property for it's value in fact. so, those are just my thoughts. i know it appears, it would require four for returning. i think we are going to have to continue this
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because i'm not prepared to vote for removal for striking the department's position. so our process here is such that if it appears that the missing commissioners vote will make a difference. in this case you will. we have three that have an inclination to over turn the department's decision to deny removal. i have indicated an inclination to sustain the department. commissioner hurtado's vote will make a difference. we are going to continue this based on that practice. >> okay. i know you need to suggest a date. i didn't know if the department had any concerns about attending meetings in the short-term.
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>> in the short-term, no pun intended. >> i am leaving for vacation tomorrow. >> next meeting is july 10th. >> i will fly back july 10th, but i won't be here on time. if the 17th works, that will be good for me. >> c'mon up to the microphone. >> i'm not quite understanding on what you have ruled on. >> we haven't. let me be a little clear here. if anybody wants to help me out. >> i don't understand why you want to take a tree -- >> if we are talking process, merits are a separate question. you don't have extra time to
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argue those. do you have a question about the process here? >> yes >> the process is that three have indicated to go with your inclination to go with your ruling. i'm not. it's not personal. the commissioner who is absent then could make a deciding vote in your favor or against you depending on what she reviews. after she reviews the record and the merits and she will attend the hearing on july 17. she will have an opportunity to ask questions. at that point in time we will deliberate once again and take a vote if the motion is made to go one way or another. it requires four to over turn a
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department's decision. okay? >> we have a motion then from the president to continue this matter to july 17th, the public hearing has been held and this continuance is to allow commissioner hurtado to participate in the final vote. on that motion, commissioner fung? aye, lazarus? aye, honda? aye. thank you, this vote is 4-0. this matter will continue on july 17th. no additional briefing. >> so we are ready to call item no. 9. is miss cold well st ill in the room? >> all right. let me just call the item first and then i will ask you to please stay an we
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can address the board. this is the property 162 west portal avenue protesting the issuance april 11, 2013, to bay area gold and silver buyers. secondhand dealer permit. i asked if the permit holder was in the room. >> i'm captain -- i represent the police department in this matter. she notified me that she is withdrawing the permit application because the police department no longer supports her decision. she's left the building. >> is there something that happens when a permit is withdrawn. is there a process with a notification or
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documentation? >> we would send a confirmation on it and go from there and she is not here and we are not supporting granting the permit at this time. >> okay. all right. thank you. >> it's a little bit of a change. >> yeah. so commissioners -- >> didn't the police department issue the permit? >> we did issue it. >> i don't understand the process. >> they couldn't even do that because it's before the board. >> have you issued a permit that you can't support? >> yes. i can explain. >> if you give me the readers digest version. >> the process was that the permit was granted, the west portal merchants association an appealed that. it came to my desk and i just represented the
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police department and prepared the brief in support of the permit. the captain at the station never got all the letters in opposition for this permit and because of that he didn't get a chance to review the record completely. had he gotten those letters he would have not recommended granting the permit. based on that, the police department no longer supports the granting of that permit. miss cold well said if the police department is not going to support me i'm not going to challenge the appeal and she left. >> it's interesting. it's her permit. if she's not here to defend it. okay. >> she's not. >> so commissioners in the building context, the building permit context someone can ask the build department to -- the
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appeal of that permit becomes moot because there is no subject matter for that appeal. >> we should have never let joe leave. >> are you asking the police department send you a similar letter? >> obviously the matter is here before you. you can take whatever action you wish. you can continue it or decide it or uphold or return. in my view, basing this on a canceling that we have -- obviously we have the officer here that that is what miss cold well has asked for but we haven't seen this documented. >> i'm uncomfortable process wise. >> may i make a suggestion. we have the west portal association make their presentation because they are the appellant and i'm as a
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respondent to tell you she's withdrawn her position. she's not here. >> i think we can continue it, but can i get -- since you already gave us a description of what took place in terms of the chronology, i would like to know a little bit more about why the communications of the west portal or whoever objected to this permit did not get to the presiding officer in your department. captain? okay. what was the timing? did it come in after? that would be helpful for me. >> thank you, commissioners. i'm captain curtis, the commanding officer for the police district. one of the duties that i do is review permits and make
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recommendationed to approve it. in this case there is a process. we have to post it for ten days and we did not and that did not give the concerned people enough time to make their views known. subsequently when it was approved at the hearing t west portal merchants association was not able to make their concerns known and i did not realize the opposition towards it. the next step was the board of appeals and the attorney for the west portal association sent the information to the permit bureau and they gave it to captain osuna. i never saw this information until recently. i didn't realize there was over 80 letters of
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opposition until monday. so that's why our position changed. >> right. it was after the issuance. i'm sorry to cut you off. i'm trying to follow the timeline. are you saying that the department didn't provide sufficient notice for objection for the 10 day period? how many days notice? >> two days. >> okay. it's the issuance of the permit was defective. okay. i see. thank you. >> i think we should continue. if for nothing else is the fact that the permit holder is not here. >> please don't speak unless you are invited to speak or unless it's your turn. please don't. i don't want to be
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harsh. i agree with commissioner fun's suggestion here to continue it. in the meantime if we are provided with information that the permit holder is withdrawn and that notice is provided then we don't need to have that hearing. why don't we do it that way? >> [inaudible] >> who are you? >> i'm a member of the public. >> not yet. >> you have not been asked or loud allowed to speak yet. >> you may want to allow the appellant to speak. >> the representative for the appellant. is that you. if you would like the person from the public that stood up to be part of your presentation. >> we would just ask that you
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not continue the hearing. >> would you state your name? >> my name is dan kramer and i represent the west portal association. i represent the newest process. the notice was for two days and not for 10. this is a violation of the rule no. 7. that's initially the process. also we feel that the applicant did not provide complete information on the application which is a revocable issue. so, furthermore, it sounds like the police department believes that the permit shouldn't have been issued. there is many members of the public who agree with that and the applicant has left and indicated her decision to withdraw the permit. so, we respectfully request that you make a decision this evening on
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this matter. >> thank you. >> in the past when boards have been confronted with permit holders that don't show, boards have revoked the permit. we would issue a know show letter to them analyzed -- and they would have 10 days to request a rehearing. >> there has been a number of ways. but i need to say something madam president to the people in the audience and the appellant's representative. in the same way that you have made predominantly a procedural and policy base appeal regarding your rights for process at the hearing, in the same way the permit holder has certain rights and by not being here, i'm not comfortable with hearing anything including public testimony related to this case. i don't think it's
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fair to the process or to the permit holder. >> [inaudible] >> no you may not. i'm sorry you have a representative. excuse me, you are out of order. please sit down. you are not helping yourself right now. you have not been asked to speak either. >> anyone else have anything? >> i would support a continuance. >> okay. >> are you suggesting to revoke the permit? is that a viable option? >> it is. >> there is no permit holder so there is no hearing without a permit holder. >> here is what was suggested by the captain is we can have a hearing based on what they have and we can make a ruling today.
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i have deep respect for his view here and we could do it the way that we would have a hearing without the permit holder and revoke. but we have a problem with the process. we have a police department that had a flawed process and it's probably not going to be in dispute. this permit is going to be withdrawn. we expect that. it's not withdrawn, there is a problem with the process. we have to go through that process to make that process right. but in any event. we are not going to have, to the extend we have a motion on continuance or we discuss a continuance, we will allow everyone that really needs to speak on this subject to have an opportunity to speak on the subject of the continuance. but we are trying to understand what happened here because the permit holder left according